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Some data estimates about the size of the Indian LPO market [by guest author Robert Unterberger, Esq.]

Bob Unterberger sent me this item.

As part of a discussion among members of Linkedin’s Legal Process Outsourcing Group, Pangea3 co-ceo Sanjay Kamlani observes:

“Several years ago, Forrester Research had predicted about 35,000 lawyer jobs shifting offshore by 2010 and about 79,000 by 2015.

I haven’t seen an updated forecast or confirmation from Forrester, but others such as Nasscom and ValueNotes have pegged the current number of lawyer jobs outsourced to India as substantially below that number without counting lawyer jobs outsourced among corporate captive units. When you take into account all the lawyers working in Indian and Filipino LPOs today as well as those working at Fortune 500 captive legal outsourcing centers in those countries, it is conceivable that anywhere from 15,000 to 20,000 of Forrester’s 35,000 projection has been achieved.

If you take a conservative average of the LPO bill rate, say $30 per hour (I’d say the range is $20 to $100), and assume an average LPO lawyer bills 1,700 hours per year, then 15,000 LPO lawyers would generate approximately US$765 million and 20,000 LPO lawyers would generate approximately $1 billion. With the current momentum in the industry, it is also not unreasonable to assume a 100% increase from where we are today to 2010 such that the LPO industry meets the Forrester research projection.

I have certainly heard of comments in the industry of some efforts or exploration of LPO in Australia, South Africa, and China. Other than the Philippines, I don’t believe that there is much substance to these efforts–and the Philippines itslef is largely unscalable with a total registered lawyer population of only 50,000.”

I am grateful to Sanjay for his refreshing data contribution, thoughtful anaylsis and, significantly, plain old willingness to share. The LPO industry could use more of this.

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